Perimeter peace of mind

Ritchie Bignell explains the three elements of the verification process

Another year passes and more progress has been made with the PSSA verification schemes. This article will give the reader an update on where we are on the journey to continue to give users of perimeter security products peace of mind. In these times of austerity, careful consideration has to be given for any pound, dollar, or euro spent. Not only in terms of the front end investment but the whole life costs of the scheme, as best value for money has never been so topical than today.

From a personal point of view, we have recently had the experience of taking products through the product verification scheme. The process focuses on ensuring the following are in place: An UKAS accredited ISO9001:2008 management scheme; Relevant PAS 68 crash test rating, and Full CE marking.

The three elements
The relevance of having these three elements in place is to ensure the consistent supply of product(s) to clients that fully meet the relevant specifications, but to also give confidence that the product(s) will do ‘as it says on the tin’.

Turning to the second scheme, the specifications appertaining to fencing, this group is currently in the process of running a pilot with a live project. In essence, a full specification has been developed with the client and as the project progresses, interim assessments are completed to critique the proposed PSSA fencing scheme. This is expected to be completed shortly, where it will be presented to the board of the PSSA for comment and approval.

In regards to the third scheme, which deals with the installation of PAS rated and non PAS rated product(s) into a fully integrated and functioning security system, the PSSA is currently in dialogue with key stakeholders.  Arguably this is the most important scheme, as this is where the other two schemes come together to deliver a cohesive system.

We are also embracing the whole life cost element into the installation scheme, as PSSA members are interested in relationships with end users built on confidence and cost effectiveness of the product(s) supplied and/or installed. 

Eliminating poor practice
Many PSSA members can readily recall stories where an installation will never be able to deliver the level of required security consistently due to poor specification and/or delivery of product(s). Whilst this can make a good anecdote it does have the side effect of reducing the creditability of the entire industry and often leads to accusations or name calling as the issue comes to light. This can then result in legal action or compensation payments, which whilst are painful to the recipient do pale into insignificance if security is actually breeched by a criminal or terrorist attack.

Therefore, the rationale for the PSSA to embed into the industry three complimentary schemes to reduce or eliminate poor practice must be beneficial. Also, whilst the PSSA cannot directly control the way perimeter security products are procured, it must and does take action to influence how they are specified and selected.  The reality is that everyone involved wants to deliver systems that are not only secure and protect the people and property involved but that they are safe, cost effective and reliable.

With a supply chain that can be long in terms of having architects; specifiers; contractors; consultants; suppliers and FM organisations involved. The supply chain may also be deep in terms of various suppliers being involved; with specialist expertise for differing advice, it is little wonder that the end user may feel short changed at the end.

Ultimately, getting all these stakeholders involved to communicate and integrate effectively involves a delicate balance between politickings; commercial awareness; relationship building and technical compatibility can be a mammoth task.

The PSSA has designed the three schemes to compliment the CPNI Hostile Vehicle Mitigation operational requirement system. This should enable the front end requirement(s) generated by the end user to filter through to the suppliers of the perimeter security product(s), so that when the system is handed over to the client, it is effective and secure.

With the UK being recognised as the global authority on crash tested products, the PSSA is becoming another point of contact for overseas organisations seeking advice. Clearly, having an industry with suppliers with a strong reputation can only bring further benefits.

Finally, the PSSA is extremely keen to engage with as many stakeholders as possible during the design of all three schemes. Also, once a scheme has been implemented, on going dialogue with stakeholders is critical, as situations change with new technologies or threats.

The PSSA is committed to evolve the schemes to address these changes, as our rationale is to protect people and property in the safest and most cost effective manner possible.

If you are interested in engaging with any of the schemes, especially in helping the PSSA develop them to meet current and new needs, contact the PSSA.

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